DOE IG questions renewables office's hiring, contracting

Tuesday - 9/28/2010, 2:53pm EDT

The Department of Energy's inspector general said DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy may have improperly hired a senior contract official and allowed officials to influence hiring by contractors, The New York Times reports.

Under the stimulus law, the renewable office's budget soared, as did its need for qualified employees to hand out the billions of dollars in stimulus funds for clean energy projects.

The DOE IG report points to the hiring of one employee, a selecting official. This official was preselected for the position and apparently knew about the job before the public, according to the DOE IG report. After he was hired, the official performed government functions before becoming a federal employee.

The investigation also uncovered a "disturbing practice" where EERE officials asked contractors to hire specific individuals for the department's contracts.

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